Here’s an on-the-road Nazar Bonjuk (nah-ZAHR bohn-jook) story from TTP user and intrepid traveler Brian Kong:
“In December 2001, I was going from Delhi to Pakistan
across the land border at Wagah. My backpack was
carrying only 2 souvenir/insignias: a Nazar Bonjuk and
a tiny, half inch, Nepalese flag pin. A middle-aged
couple joined me on the way: a man who pointed to my
evil eye and said, ‘Nazar Bonjuk!’
“He was Turkish, a medical doctor, and his companion also pointed to my backpack and said in Chinese, ‘Nepalese flag!’ She was Chinese, from Sichuan and living in Nepal.
“I can speak basic Mandarin and we chatted in Chinese about this and that and from the man’s total lack of
comprehension I guessed that either they weren’t long
together or had just met.
“I thought it was rather odd that they should be coming
from the two countries that I carried souvenirs from
but how many people would know nazar bonjuk in
Turkish and be able to recognise the Nepalese flag,
even though it is a distinctive flag?
“It was also odd to meet a doctor and a well dressed woman travelling the backpacker way I do. People like that would
normally take a plane or coach.
“Anyway, after chatting on the way to the border, I
felt that even if they weren’t exactly what they
seemed, they were a nice couple and the rest wasn’t my
“At the border, the officials requested the man to step
into a room as his passport was reported stolen two
weeks earlier. He insisted that there was some mix-up
and I was ushered through Customs and Immigration
because they told me that I was not allowed to wait.
“At the actual border gate, I was photographed by the
Indian Immigration, ostensibly as a tourist for their
magazine. I waited two hours on the Pakistani side for
the Turk and Chinese couple but they didn’t appear.
“Two weeks later I passed through the border back into
India and enquired about them from the Indian border
guards and was told that the man was delayed for one
night but the matter was cleared up and they were
allowed to pass the following day.
“I hadn’t exchanged email addies or contact information with them and have no way of finding out if they’re okay. But what do you make of my curious little story? Do you think the Turk was what he appeared to be?
“Güle, güle. Go smiling. Good journey!”
Either there was a passport mix-up, or perhaps it was a shake-down: “We can clear up this little misunderstanding about your papers upon payment of $100.” That sort of thing. I’s happened to me numerous times in Latin America.